Sunday, November 16, 2014

Japanese Jewels - Oriental Wall Fan

Our family has safely arrived in Japan & we are so excited for the adventures ahead!

This past weekend, I attended the Asian Bazaar hosted by the Yokota Officers' Spouses' Club.
There were over 60 vendors selling everything from handmade goods to antiques. 

As i browsed all the pretties... I came across this beauty & my heart was set!

A gorgeous oriental wall fan!!
The Cherry Blossom design had to come home with me!

It is approximately 30 inches tall when closed, and made of a heavily starched fabric & bamboo. I'm not actually sure how the image is put on the fan, I would originally say just the red & pink parts are painted & the main image is printed on the fabric, but after shopping & seeing hand painted pieces that look screen printed, I am left amazed at the talent of japanese artists!

When opened, it spans across a full size bed! 
(With my beloved potter quilt.. that travels with me... always! <3... nerd moment..*ahem*)

I love how the reds & pinks boldly pop off the delicate blue background!

I am (not so)  patiently waiting for a house to be ready for us so I can hang my new treasure!
My husband says he wants me to decorate rooms by theme, so they don't clash... but I assured him that all of our trinkets will find a way to blend together and reflect the beautiful story we are living!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Seattle Space Needle & Pike's Place Market

On our journey toward Japan, we made a short stop in Seattle to spend time with some friends. 
Brent & Tanya are some of our Florida friends, who now live in Washington... so they drove in with their girls to spend the weekend with us! Tanya & I met through a playgroup in Florida and it was so nice to catch up with them & let our kids hang out. They were kind enough to take us sight seeing in the local area.

Our first stop -- The Seattle Space Needle!!

We were blessed with a brisk, sunny day... a perfect day for a view from the top!
The crowd was pretty small, so we were able to buy tickets & then walk directly to the elevators.

At the top, there is a small cafe which serves Starbucks coffee.. and when in Seattle....
(the coffee actually turned out to be horrible... which will teach me to only buy Starbucks coffee from an actual Starbucks coffee shop.. but you live & learn!)

The Seattle Space Needle offers a free app which allows you to interact with these designs on the floor called Space Spots. They can be found on the floors around the top of the tower.

When you use the app, the Space Spots turn into photo prop spots!! They all have different surprises and our kids had a blast running from spot to spot to discover the hidden images & posing for fun photos! Oh who am I kidding.. Tanya & I had fun playing with them too! 

After a trip up the Space Needle.... it was on to Pike's Place Market!!!!

Isn't the view just gorgeous!?!

Pike's Place Market is home to the original Starbucks!
I just took a photo & moved on, as the line was ridiculously long & the store was packed.

 Inside the market we found craft vendors, food vendors, flower vendors, street performers... pretty much anything and everything you could think of!

Directly across the street from this entrance to the market is Starbucks at Pike's & 1st.
Stopping in Starbucks while at Pike's Place Market was an absolute must for me!!
It actually turned out to be a very quick and efficient shop... maybe a 10 minute wait in total. 
My drink of choice was the peppermint mocha.. my favorite!!
This was the best mocha ever!! just enough peppermint.. just enough mocha...

*deep sigh*

....incandescently happy...

Of course, no trip would be complete without a few goodies!

I picked up a fabulous canvas tote, a CD from The Tall Boys (street performers in picture above), and an exclusive mug & coffee roast from Starbucks at Pike's & 1st! The mug features the original mermaid logo & will be a fabulous addition to my collection!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekend Getaway: The War Hill Inn & Colonial Williamsburg

My husband pulled off a super sweet surprise for me and arranged a weekend getaway to a nearby B&B as a late anniversary gift! We took the 'scenic route' & drove up the Colonial Parkway. The view was beautiful, as the trees are being painted in the glorious colors of fall. Its been a few years since I've experienced the rich reds, majestic oranges, & glorious golds of fall... so this was an extra special treat!

We stayed at the amazing War Hill Inn, located in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

It is a quiet, family owned business with exceptional hosts: Bill, Shirley, Will & Cherie.  Each morning, we were served a fabulous home cooked breakfast as we dined with the other guests. Our hosts would also come out to chat with us & were incredibly knowledgeable about the history of their property. The naming of "War Hill" dates back to 1781, when a battle, involving Hessians, took place in the area. 

One of our hosts, Will, also spent some time chatting with us and enjoyed hearing about our travels. He gave me 2 book recommendations, which I am really excited to look into!

The first he described as a love story set in the Ottoman Empire in Turkey. 

The second, he said he had just started, but was set in 1800 Japan.

We enjoyed staying in The Jefferson Cottage.
There is one other cottage, The Washington Cottage, as well as rooms located in The Manor House.

Fun fact: both cottages and all rooms in the Manor House are named after Virginia-born Presidents.

One of my very favorite places to visit anytime we are in Colonial Williamsburg is The Cheese Shop located in Merchants Square. In addition to their large selection of cheeses, they also have a sandwich bar & a wine cellar. This is always on my 'must visit' list!

Our purchases at The Cheese Shop included:
Williamsburg Winery Plantation Blush 2013 - I enjoy sweet wines, but not overly sweet.. this was a perfect wine for me! I would definitely purchase again!

Smoked Gouda - a favorite of mine that I have enjoyed since I was a kid.

Euphoria, a goat cheese gouda - this was our 'try something new' purchase. I asked the girl behind the counter what her favorite cheese was. I would describe this as a creamy parmigiano reggiano. I was immediately in love!

Rosemary bread - fresh, scrumptious, fluffy.... this had to be the softest, most fragrant bread I have ever enjoyed! The loaves are cut right in front of you upon purchase... and then paired with cheese & wine???  *sigh* decadence..... 

A visit to Colonial Williamsburg would not be complete without spending a day roaming around historical sites & joining The Revolution! It was a super windy & cold day, but extrememely enjoyable. My history loving husband enjoyed reading every sign & touring the sites, while I enjoyed playing with my camera & interacting with the actors.... a perfect day for us!

One of the prettiest trees... the colors blended so beautifully.. ohh how i love fall!!


To escape from the cold & wind for a bit, we stopped to have lunch at the King's Arms Tavern.

We shared The Cheese Monger's Plate - fresh fruit, cheddar, gouda, brie, pimento spread, tomato conserve & snippets
As well as the Mob-Jack Bay Crab Cake Sandwich with house made chips.

I had never had tomato conserve... but O M G!!! I will be looking up recipes for this.. absolutely amazing!! tomatos, citrus, cloves... sooo yumm!!!

In the afternoon, we spent some time watching a reenactment in the streets and interacting with the period actors. There were lots of laughs, huzzahs, & a few protests as the stories played out. 

I love watching the canons being fired!
the smell... the smoke... the boom... LOVE IT!!

Celebrating 8 years of marriage to my best friend!

 All in all, and amazing weekend!! We are looking forward to repeating this trip in a few years!